January 7, 2010

Top 5 things Steam MUST fix


I am a pret­ty big sup­port­er of steam and the things that it enables users to do but there are some seri­ous flaws that I have run into recent­ly.
1.  I want to be able to play my games offline… with­out hav­ing to use the steam client…easily.  I don’t want to have to log in, find some obscure set­ting some­where in the set­tings.  Log back off.   What I would like to see is the client to always be offline unless you tell it to be online instead of the oth­er way around.  Grant­ed I would have it logged in most the of time any­way but if I don’t have to why should I be forced to.  So I can play my games?  Why do I need to be online to play a sin­gle play­er game?  There is no need for authen­ti­ca­tion of the legit­i­ma­cy of my game as I have pur­chased it through them.  I can’t think of one rea­son it needs to be online.  If I want to update the game, play online or just chat away with my friends… I’ll log in.  I know a cou­ple peo­ple who have moved to an area that has no Inter­net and now they can­not access their games.  If you have paid for your mer­chan­dise you should be able to use it on or offline.
2.  Give the option to pur­chase a phys­i­cal copy of your game along with all the games col­lectible con­tent.  One of the biggest rea­sons I some­times to choose to buy a game from the store instead of steam, even if they are the same price is that I get the col­lectible art­work.  For exam­ple, Drag­on Age: Ori­gins is  $64.99 at Best Buy and it comes with col­lectible CDS, inserts, sound track, a map, instruc­tion book­let, some extra in game items, down­load­able side quest, and a pret­ty cool look­ing met­al case.  I did­n’t feel like I wast­ed any mon­ey on it because of the con­tent.  What I can’t under­stand is why you would charge the same price on steam or even half that price on steam when you don’t get any of the phys­i­cal con­tent.   I have no objec­tion to pay­ing an extra 5 dol­lars plus ship­ping to get the phys­i­cal copy WITH my pur­chase of the dig­i­tal copy.  This also gives me a back­up copy in case of the unfor­tu­nate event that steam ever clos­es; It also pro­vides me with the abil­i­ty to install a game far quick­er.  Down­load­ing a game that is 14 gigs can take a good num­ber of hours even on the beefi­est of con­nec­tions.  With a phys­i­cal copy I can install with­in a half hour depend­ing on the size of the game.  This is espe­cial­ly handy if you change or rebuild your com­put­er on a con­stant basis.
3. Give me the option to acti­vate ALL games that are avail­able on steam.  I can’t tell you how annoy­ing it is I only acti­vate valve games on steam.  How hard is it to allow me to acti­vate a non valve game?  The licens­ing is still the same regard­less and I even get CD keys with some of the games I buy.  This goes back to the option to issue #2, I want to be able to have a phys­i­cal and dig­i­tal copy of the item.  I’m mon­ey based thinker and believe me mon­ey is always on my mind.  When I spend mon­ey I want to pro­tect my invest­ments, whether it be stocks, bonds, a lawn­mow­er, pc game or last weeks issue of play­boy.  If I can’t down­load it I want to be able to install it from a disc.  If my disc gets destroyed I want to be able to down­load it and buy a replace­ment copy.  Under­stand where I am going with this?
4.  Be more mod friend­ly.  Recent­ly I have down­loaded sev­er­al old­er games.  The ones I’ve had the most issues with and that come to mind are Titan Quest and Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II.  Both games con­tain mod­i­fied .exe files which pre­vent a good num­ber of mods from work­ing cor­rect­ly.  In old­er games that are still around and being played it’s not uncom­mon to notice the dat­ing graph­ics on them, JKII and Deus Ex are no excep­tions.  The first thing I did when I installed Deus Ex was look for a graph­ics and tex­ture mod.  I found one instant­ly called HDTP.  Looked real­ly cool, down­loaded it, installed it, launched it.  FAIL!!!!.  The error “Can­not find steam” pops on my screen.  I imme­di­ate­ly face palm and start read­ing around on the forums.  Turns out steam uses a mod­i­fied Duesex.exe and for the graph­ics update to work you have to find and down­load the orig­i­nal .exe file.  This was a chal­lenge in itself.  Basi­cal­ly I want a untam­pered copy of the game that I don’t fight with to get mods work­ing on.  Mods are one of the main rea­sons I pre­fer PC gam­ing and with­out that you take away  a large part of the expe­ri­ence that is PC gam­ing.
In  addi­tion to this, for the more advanced user, I think steam needs to allow you to choose which ver­sion of the game you want to install.  This was my biggest gripe with Titan Quest, the final boss in the game and the way you defeat him changes dras­ti­cal­ly from 1 ver­sion to anoth­er.  This caused me a great deal of frus­tra­tion in the fact that I could use a strat­e­gy that every­one else got to use who bought the game before me.  This also goes back to Mods as cer­tain mods are only com­pat­i­ble with cer­tain ver­sions of a game.  This just gives the more picky and tech­ni­cal­ly savvy con­sumer some extra toys to play with.
5.  Uneven down­load rates … there have been times when I’m down­load­ing at 2.0mbs and I can down­load a 1gb game in a mat­ter of min­utes and oth­er times when I was down­load­ing at 2 bytes… the prob­lem is quite appar­ent.  The most recent offense was when GTA4 the game is 7 gigs and when I’m down­load­ing at 72 kb that’s just plain unac­cept­able.  Steam has more then enough servers and band­width to offer a good 500kb — 600kb upload to their clients.  If the serv­er is to busy to accept to con­nec­tions it should search for the clos­est and most effi­cient serv­er to down­load from next.  Steam appears like it is sup­posed to do this but I feel like some­thing is work­ing right behind the scenes.  When I bought GTA4 I had to set­up some serv­er in rus­sia to get it to down­load.
These are my five biggest gripes with steam and I would be very hap­py to see them address some of these con­cerns.  What do you guys think?  What issues do you see with steam?  What ben­e­fits do you see with it?

5 comments

  1. PimpmasterF - January 8, 2010 5:22 pm

    I can agree with all 5 of those, 1)it is hel­la annoy­ing to have to be logged on just to play my not-online sin­gle play­er game, what if my net goes down, my mod­en frys, steam goes away, steams servers are act­ing up? etc. its ridu­cu­lous. 2)I dont real­ly care about col­lec­table art­work and all that, i just lose it any­way, but wait­ing to down­load a 15gb file sux hard 3)and I cant tell you how many times ive tried to acti­vate a game that steam offers only to be shut down by the fact that it isnt a valve prod­uct, who cares? valve got their mon­ey let me have to option to acti­vate and down­load a dig­i­tal copy should some­thing hap­pen to my disc, now I under­stand that may open up more room for pira­cy but hell with all the tech today I would think they could fig­ure out a com­pro­mise. 4) I lied about agree­ing with all 5 cuz I dont mod games 5)It isnt often I get slow down­load speeds but it has hap­pened and I had to keep reset­ing my loca­tion till I got a serv­er with an accept­able rate, why does­nt steam do this auto­mat­i­cal­ly???? Bot­tom line I like steam but there are defen­it­ly some quirks that could be fixed to make it more user friend­ly

    Reply
  2. mrsleep - January 10, 2010 11:51 am

    Chances are with #3, is that it is not Steam/Valves fault, most like­ly its the indi­vid­ual devel­op­ers of the games that is not allow­ing steam to do this.
    It also could be a logis­ti­cal night­mare hav­ing to check the key­codes for ALL the steam games against ALL the devs lists.

    Reply
  3. mrp00n - January 23, 2010 8:29 pm

    What’s up sleep!???!
    I agree with #1! This is always an issue dur­ing lans. There was a few steam updates dur­ing Quake­con last year that kept about 50% of the BYOB folks from play­ing any steam games. The trick in lans is to go offline before you hook up 😀

    Reply
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  5. thsoundman - March 30, 2010 7:14 pm

    I’m so con­fused by what you are try­ing to say? Who is being rebuked? Who is lazy or stu­pid? Please clar­i­fy?

    Reply

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